Asia Foundation Supports Timor-Leste Tourism Strategy

July 17, 2017 — The Asia Foundation is pleased to support the efforts of the Government of Timor-Leste to advance the country’s tourism and economic development opportunities. Designed to take Timor-Leste to the global market, the inaugural official tourism campaign was unveiled by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture at a recent session of Council of Ministers last week. The “Explore the Undiscovered” tourism campaign, featured on the Government’s official tourism website, was developed through a collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism and the Foundation.

The Asia Foundation project on Timor-Leste’s tourism strategy and national branding campaign has focused on increasing the country’s exposure to international tourism markets, enhancing economic opportunities, and establishing a base for understanding the specific needs within the tourism sector. According to a 2014 Asia Foundation survey of travelers to Timor-Leste, the tourism sector is currently worth US$14.6 million per year, and while still a small percentage of overall GDP, it ranks closely behind coffee as the third largest sector. To meet the needs of the country’s tourism stakeholders, a clear public policy framework is vital to ensure effective, efficient, and sustainable growth. Read more on In Asia.

Her Excellency Ms. Isabel de Jesus Ximenes, Acting Minister for Tourism, Arts & Culture, introduced the presentation by highlighting the importance of a unified brand to not only promote Timor-Leste’s image abroad, but also increase the number of tourists.

With the country’s tourism policy aiming to attract 200,000 international tourists who are projected to spend US$150 million by 2030, developing a unique and memorable tourism brand is the first step in achieving these targets.

Timor-Leste’s official tourism campaign unveiled at a recent session of Council of Ministers. The “Explore the Undiscovered” tourism campaign was developed in collaboration with The Asia Foundation.

Timor-Leste’s tourism logo, as approved by its Council of Ministers, is a strong identifier for the country’s heritage. It is comprised of the umalulik and sun, designed in a manner that is visually appealing, as well as welcoming to outsiders. The symbol represents Timor-Leste’s linguistic relationship with the sun, and the balance of life, family and society. The logo colors are reflective of the country’s history and flag design, evoking pride, resilience, and independence.

His Excellency Mr. Hernani Coelho, Minister for Foreign Affairs, commended the process taken by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and The Asia Foundation, stating, “The way the tourism brand development team structured the process of developing Timor-Leste logo and slogan was systematic and has captured all aspects of Timor-Leste’s identity.”

The Asia Foundation convened a rigorous process from January to October 2016 to determine the country’s tourism slogan. The process was comprised of stakeholder workshops with the Ministry of Tourism and private sector along with a survey of over 200 respondents, which included previous visitors to Timor-Leste and non-visitors.

His Excellency Dr. Rui Maria de Araújo, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commented on both the logo and slogan: “The colors of Timor-Leste’s logo are derived not only from the environment, culture and history but also from its ancient history, as seen in the cave painting of Ile Kére Kére that were presented today. Even I have not yet traveled to Ile Kére Kére, so I too must Explore the Undiscovered.”

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Related locations: Timor-Leste
Related programs: Inclusive Economic Growth
Related topics: Tourism

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